Google Is Creating A Newer And Better CAPTCHA System

December 3, 2014 - Written By Nick Terry

Those of you who have signed up for a new account online anywhere probably know of the annoying pain called CAPTCHA. This is the system created long ago by Google to block out spam created by automated scripts. Still don’t know what we’re talking about? It’s that thing at the end of an account sign-up page that asks you to copy some impossible-to-read text into a box in order to make sure that you are actually a human and not a bot created by some spammer. While this system may have seemed smart at its creation, nowadays it just doesn’t hold up. In fact, CAPTCHAs creator, Google, recently showed off a system they created that could get past the CAPTCHA system 99.8 percent of the time. Today, Google has finally decided to do something about this.

Google made a substantial announcement this morning, they introduced a new API for websites to use that is designed to replace the old CAPTCHA system. This new system is called No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA and it is supposedly much better and simpler than the old CAPTCHA system. The way this new system works will be to pre-screen each new user’s behavior and then, if the system decides you are a human you simply have to check a box, but if it can not decide if you are a human you will be forced to copy scrambled text into a box. If you are on a mobile device and the system decides you are not a human, you will be given a new way to prove that you are, an example of this is that you will be shown an image of a cat and asked to select which images matches that one. This new image recognition test is designed to be much more mobile friendly than trying to decipher tiny little scrambled up letter on your smartphone display.

If you are wondering what this “pre-screening” entails that we mentioned above, it consists of some pretty clever stuff. Engineers at Google have said that this pre-screening will look at things like how long the user spent on the page and IP addresses. This new No CAPTCHA reCAPTHCA system has already been employed by some big names, Snapchat, WordPress, and Humble Bundle all already use the system for new users to their services. Unfortunately, this new system will more than likely not be adopted by every website or service, some will just flat out refuse to upgrade to the new service. Hopefully, the bigger services and sites will see the added protection from spam that this new service offers and adopt it in the near future.

With this new system we see that Google has made a pretty big realization, the best way to tell if a user is human is not by asking them a series of questions, but instead by paying attention to how they act during sign-up. We are very glad to see this long overdue update to the long broken CAPTCHA system and we hope that more sites start adopting the new system as soon as possible.